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Top 10 New Hip-Hop Albums - September 2011


Summer's official end ushered out what has been a dismal year for hip-hop. The good news is that fall boasts a strong lineup of new releases, including debut albums albums by J. Cole and Phonte. Veteran emcees like J-Live and Z-Ro round up the Top 10. Proceed for September's best new hip-hop albums.

10. Will Sessions - 'Elmatic Instrumentals'

© Fat Beats

One of the standout mixtapes of 2011 has been Elzhi's Elmatic. So good was the musicianship on that project (courtesy of Detroit band Will Sessions) that Fat Beats decided to release the instrumentals as a separate entity. The LP gets you a free digital copy.

Release Date: September 27, 2011

9. One Be Lo - 'L.A.B.O.R'

L.A.B.O.R. is an exhaustive 33-part journey, stapled with assorted storylines and skits. The acronym stands for Language Arts Based On Reality. LABOR doubles as a showcase of DL7, Lo's all-female band.

Release Date: September 27, 2011

8. Madlib - 'Raw Medicine'

© Stones Throw

How's this for commitment. Last year, Madlib started a ridiculous 12-album series, and he's managed to keep it exciting all the way. He's dropped everything from jazz-inspired instrumental sets to plain old compilations. Raw Medicine is the twelfth and final installment of the Medicine Show. Sixty minutes, thirty tracks.

7. J-Live - 'SPTA'

J. Live's fifth album has known many delays but it's finally set for release on Sept. 27 (fingers crossed). Title stands for "Said Person of that Ability." Pronounced "Spitta." Not to be confused with similarly named stoner rapper. Production by Diamond D, Nicolay, Marco Polo, RJD2, and J-Live himself.

Release Date: September 27, 2011

6. Das Racist - 'Relax'

© Greed Head
You'd think Das Racist was already on its 5th album with all the buzz around Relax. Nay, the joke-rap group is only getting started—Relax is DR's official debut LP, following 2010's two-piece mixtape wonder, Shut Up, Dude and Sit Down, Man. With just 4 guests on Relax, there's plenty of Heems and Kool A.D.'s quirky beats and witty rhymes to keep fans giddy.

Release Date: Sept. 13, 2011

5. 9th Wonder - 'The Wonder Years'

© Traffic
9th Wonder has done boardwork for a wide range of artists, from rappers (Murs, Jay-Z) to singers (Destiny's Child, Erykah Badu). Some of 9th's collaborators gladly return the favor on his fourth compilation album, The Wonder Years. The album sports collaborations with Tanya Morgan, Blu, Kendrick Lamar, among others. It will be released via 9th's imprint It's A Wonderful World Music Group in conjunction with Traffic Entertainment.

Release Date: September 27, 2011

4. Evidence - 'Cats & Dogs'

© Rhymesayers

Evidence is famously known as one-third of L.A. crew Dilated Peoples. But the rapper/producer has also proven to be a strong solo artist. Ev further explores the personal tales introduced on his remarkable 2007 debut, The Weatherman LP. Production on Cats & Dogs comes from DJ Premier, DP comrades Rakaa Iriscience and DJ Babu, Alchemist, and a host of others.

Release Date: September 27, 2011

3. Z-Ro - 'Meth'

© Rap-A-Lot
Z-Ro has named each of his last four albums after a banned substance of some sort. That's definitely one way to endear yourself to the streets. And what would Z-Ro be without the streets. The self-named King of the ghetto has also dipped each of those LPs in that pitch-black sound he's mastered so well. Collaborators on Meth include: Bun B, Slim Thug, Yo Gotti, Dallas Blocker, and Just Brittanny.

Release Date: September 20

2. Phonte - 'Charity Starts at Home'

© +FE Music
Charity Starts at Home is Tay's solo debut (not including the Foreign Exchange stuff with Nicolay). Little Brother alum produced album highlights "Not Here Anymore" and "The Good Fight," both of which hint at the album's everyday man theme. Charity is a must-have for LB and FE fans alike.

Release Date: September 27, 2011

1. J. Cole - 'Cole World: The Sideline Story'

J Cole - Sideline Story
© Roc Nation/Columbia

It's hard to believe it's only been two years since J. Cole first invaded hip-hop consciousness. Maybe it's because the North Carolina MC has already accomplished a lot in such a short span--he's toured with Rihanna, racked up accolades, and released two wildly cherished mixtapes. Cole produced all but two songs on his Roc Nation debut. Guest list is light as well, with Jay-Z, and Drake dropping the only guest raps on Cole World: The Sideline Story. Missy Elliott, who's battling Graves' disease, sings on the standout "Nobody's Perfect."

Release Date: September 27, 2011

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